We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. ~Shirley Abbott

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A tribute to Sandra

I'm not much of a blogger really. I'm a writer. I started blogging months ago when I realized my novel, no matter how hard I coaxed, may never come out of the closet. Sure, I knew it was in there, playing hide-and-seek with me constantly poking its papery head out from masses of paper I'd written and discarded. It coyly retreated to the back of my closet unread by anyone but me. Oh sure, I knew it was there waiting for me to close my eyes count to ten and go seek.

Shortly after I subscribed to 23 and me DNA company I met Sandra Taliaferro (  and  Taneya Koonce
( both DNA related cousins and they both blog.

23 and me Chromosome comparison Sandra and I on chromosome four and Taneya Koonce and I over 2 segments on chromosome 10 both related to me on my paternal side.

My cousin Sandra was my biggest inspiration to start blogging. She chided me about consistency and chastised me about grammar and I realize now that her efforts were to improve my writing not hinder it. I miss her so much since her passing. She inferred upon me an obligation to my ancestors to tell their stories,  and to not allow someone else to tell their stories. Someone who would only grace the surface and not delve into substance, like those post Civil War photographers did who filmed the masses of black people after freedom standing around with looks of bewilderment on their faces, unnamed, and unnameable still, leaving the viewer to wonder what their individual stories were.

Like Sandra I never knew my father either.  When Mother got sick I grew up in a foster home placed there when I was five the second time and when I was two months the first time. My dad and me have developed a relationship since, but for years when my psyche was the most influential I didn't know him, not really. Sure, I knew who he was, what he looked like, but I didn't know his deeper self. That self we keep submerged, with only our face exposed upon the surface. Its that deeper self that no one ever really knows unless you allow them in. So this blog is for Sandra, and all my DNA relatives but especially for Sandra Taliaferro who was about to go live on a new blog shortly before her untimely, demise. It's called Harvest of the Helix because of the double helix of DNA and I will share my findings and any new cousin connections I receive.


  1. Beautiful, beautiful post & MOST CERTAINLY Sandra "Fire Pistol" TALIAFERRO, "She chided me about consistency and chastised me about grammar"!:)

    I loved & respected her much. I'm Luckie, the genealogist who nudged Sandra to blog & designed her genealogy sites. We always believed there was shared blood between us & I still have faith I'll find our connection in the days ahead.

    I've begun restoring Sandra's research online via in the hope others like yourself will use it to carry the work forward.

    I also manage AAGSAR via Facebook, a hard-core research collaborative of which I fully believe, San is there in Spirit. Join us anytime!

    Well done Victoria!:)


  2. Sandra has impacted so many lives..she is a great lady and will always be remembered by our community.

  3. I have read so many wonderful things about Sandra and her influence in our genealogy community. I can see/feel the love and respect from everyone who knew her. What a beautiful legacy she left for us to learn from and carry forward. This is such a beautiful tribute.

  4. Sandra's Cousin! This is Wonderful. I remember when I started a year ago, Sandra Graced my pages and when I first posted a Blog and she nudged me on in our Facebook Group, Our Black Ancestry. That is where I met her. Keep Carrying on.

  5. Wow! It appears the bug has bitten you in more ways than one. Great story and excellent title and visuals. Keep the gate open!

  6. Thanks everyone! I will look you up Luckie Sandra and I never did find our common ancestor and indeed she was a "Fire pistol" and worthy of all respect. Thanks dsmillertime84, Bernita Allen, she certainly was an impact on my life and the push I needed. Yes True Sandra and I were cousins trying like you and me to connect the pieces of our puzzle and encouraging me to write about the frustrations as well as the successes in order to put it in to some perspective. Thanks Joseph, being down with this cold doesn't mean I'm out.